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Milwaukee chef brings a taste of the Mediterranean to the riverfront

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Side-by-side photos of a bearded man sprinkling seasoning on a plated food item and a brick restaurant located next to a river.
Crossroads Collective; Riverfront Pizzeria; Facebook
Chef Ramses Alvarez (left) is going from Crossroads Collective to the Third Ward as he transforms the former Riverfront Pizzeria.

Each week on This Bites, dining critic Ann Christenson from Milwaukee Magazine and Radio Milwaukee’s resident foodie Tarik Moody dig into the city’s culinary and restaurant culture to help you find new spots, old favorites and the best ingestibles around Milwaukee.

If you’re a Milwaukee food appreciator, especially one who frequents Crossroads Collective, you know Chef Ramses Alvarez. At the very least, you know his two concepts: Brew’d Burger Shop and Dia Bom. This week, Alvarez announced big plans on top of previously announced big plans to bring his food to a much larger venue.

Let’s rewind a bit to last September, when Alvarez shared the news of a future Dia Bom home in Bay View’s Lincoln Warehouse. Exciting stuff for anyone who got a taste of the fusion-style dishes coming out of the Dia Bom stand at Crossroads.

Then life threw a curveball that had Alvarez and his partner, Shannon Rowell, rethinking their plans. Riverfront Pizzeria — a longtime resident of the waterfront located at 509 E. Erie St. — suddenly and quietly shut up shop earlier this week, leaving 6,400 square feet of prime real estate up for grabs.

Well, Alvarez and Rowell grabbed it. But rather than the Dia Bom concept, they’ve decided to lean on the chef’s extensive experience at many of the city’s fine eateries (Mason Street Grill, La Merenda, various Bartolotta restaurants) as well as his world travels to launch a Mediterranean-style menu at an as-yet-unnamed new venture.

The food lineup is still coming together, but Alvarez told OnMilwaukee’s Lori Fredrich that a large portion of it will come out of the wood-fired oven Riverfront previously used to fire up its pies. It also sounds like the pizza presence will continue in the space, along with wood-fired veggies, fish and burgers.

The effort required means Alvarez and Rowell will hit pause on Dia Bom in Bay View. But it’s not all bad news for the neighborhood, which tops the list of what else is happening around the city right now:

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Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee